This tasty recipe of mostly fresh vegetables and a little pork (you can use other meats as well) originated in Ilokano Province, known as Pakbet Ilokano. If you plan to make this, you’ll need to go to a market with lots of fresh produce and an Asian market, if you don’t already have the shrimp paste. Lots and lots of vegetables, such as kalabasa (squash), sitaw (string beans), eggplant (talong), and okra, but you can use any kind of vegetables to make this dish.
Serve this dish over white rice or with the rice on the side, it’s really you choice. But, you’re going to love this savory vegetable dish.
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If you have never made Pinakbet. This is how you do it.
Ingredients for Pinakbet
½ kg of thinly sliced pork tenderloin
1 medium eggplant, sliced into 10cm pieces
1 medium-sized ampalaya, or bitter melon, chopped (this might be difficult to find outside the Philippines, so if you can’t find it you can just leave it out, there’s really no substitute)
½ kg of squash, into 2x2cm cubes
3 large tomato, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon of ginger, minced or grated
3 cloves garlic, crushed
8 pieces of okra
1 bunch string beans (cut to 5cm)
4 tablespoons of shrimp paste
1 cup water
3 tablespoons of cooking oil
Pepper and salt to taste
Directions for Pinakbet
Heat before putting in the cooking oil; sauté the onions, garlic, tomato and ginger until the onions start to turn translucent; add the meat and lightly brown; add the water and boil; turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes; put in the squash and shrimp and cook for 5 minutes; then add the rest of the vegetables and stir in other ingredients; simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. Be sure not to cook too much or your vegetables will be mushy, especially the squash.
Serve this dish over white rice or with the rice on the side, it’s really your choice. But, you’re going to love this savory vegetable dish.